We love reading aloud to our kids. It's a cozy, quiet time together; we know it contributes enormously to their learning and development; and there are countless wonderful stories to discover and share. What could be better?
Indeed, we'd much rather snuggle up and read with the little ones than, say, do a bit of online banking, catch up on laundry, or drive to the grocery store. But wish as we may, those things still need to be done.
So it goes: our kids chase after us as we're trying to get this or that task done, pleading read me another story!! And we say, regretfully, in a minute, knowing full well that the task in question requires at least another half hour. Juggle, juggle and juggle some more.
Well, the juggling gets a bit easier when you introduce audio books into your family's world. Remember audio books? Back in the days before 5,000 television channels and DVDs and websites, audio books were prized childhood possessions. And, we think, they still should be.
Audio books teach a love of stories and books, they allow emerging readers to follow along with the text, and they foster appreciation for the art of storytelling. (Parents listening in may learn a thing or two!) Most of all, young kids love them. Not as much as mom or dad reading, but for an hour here or there, audio books will more than do.
For our road trips this summer, we have in mind the following (and that's just to get us started!):
Rabbit Ears Treasury of Animal Stories
We love the Rabbit Ears series of audio books for young children. Each CD offers three or four short stories to captivate short attention spans, read by some of the best storytellers in the world. Jack Nicholson reading How the Rhinoceros Got His Skin? Who wouldn't want to listen? The series also includes fairytales and stories from around the world. Don't miss.
Who better to read the classic, ever exciting tales of Beatrix Potter than Meryl Streep? She brings Peter Rabbit and company to life like no one else can. And captures the elegance of Potter's diction to perfection. A real listening treat. (Note: books are not included.)
We can't read these books often enough to satisfy our kids, but luckily they can listen to the cds whenever they please! This wonderful collection includes all four volumes of the series, read by the brilliant author himself.
The Velveteen Rabbit Audio Book
Meryl Streep reads one of the most beautiful children's books of all time. This is the classic story of a stuffed rabbit so loved by a little boy that he eventually comes to life. Children love to hear this story again and again!
The Mercy Watson Collection
For humor and silly adventures, you can't do better than Kate DiCamillo's Mercy Watson series. Once you've begun, your kids won't let you stop - so the audio version may come in very handy! Especially recommended for anyone fond of pigs.
We absolutely love taking in a flick with our little ones. Whether on the couch in the den or in the theater with one knee reaching over (uncomfortably) to hold the folding seat down, give us our kiddos, some popcorn and a screen with a story, and w... read more
Love for the writing of Dr. Seuss seems to be universal among kids. As a primary school librarian, I've seen even the rowdiest classes with the toughest customers fall mouth-agape silent under his spell. The same is true of my own son. When he was... read more